Two people who testified in Bibb County court Wednesday said they heard the screams of 19-year-old Eliza “Alize” Williams as she was being stabbed fatally at the Good Shepherd House in 2007.
“The double doors on the church looked like they were going to come off their hinges,” said Charles Toomer. “It was loud, continuous screaming.”
Samantha Jackson said she recognized Williams’ voice as she screamed “OK, stop! OK, stop!”
Williams was stabbed multiple times.
Jackson and Toomer testified in the opening day trial of 48-year-old Richard Mullins, the man accused of killing Williams on Sept. 10, 2007, at the shelter located at the corner of Elm and Second streets.
Defense attorney Mark Beberman described the prosecution’s evidence against Mullins as circumstantial during his opening statement.
“In this case, there’s an utter lack of evidence,” Beberman said.
But GBI forensics experts found semen with Mullins’ DNA on Williams’ body and Williams’ blood on the clothing Mullins’ was wearing on the day of the murder, prosecutor Nancy Scott Malcor said.
Because of allegations Williams was a prostitute, Beberman said the DNA evidence doesn’t show how or when Mullins’ DNA got on Williams or how or when Williams’ blood got on Mullins’ clothing.
Beberman said police have not found an eyewitness to the killing, have not recovered the murder weapon, have not determined a motive and there’s no evidence linking Mullins to the crime scene.
During Jackson’s testimony, she said she walked by the shelter — a halfway house for recovering drug addicts, ex-convicts and others needing help — the day of the killing after visiting a friend.
Toomer, of Second Street, said he rode by the shelter on his bicycle on his way to run an errand and saw Jackson. Jackson asked for a cigarette and as he gave her one he said he heard loud screaming coming from inside the shelter.
Toomer testified that he went to the doors and tried to open them.
“I tried with all I could,” he said, adding he threatened to call the police. “Then it stopped.”
In the silence, Jackson called out for Williams, but she didn’t answer.
Watson Brown, a man who lives two houses down from the shelter, testified that he came up on the shelter while Jackson was yelling for Williams.
He said he went to the side of the Good Shepherd House and heard glass break shortly before he saw a shadow of a person running from the back of the facility toward some bushes.
Brown then called the police.
Knowing that someone was calling the police, Toomer said he left the Good Shepherd House and returned later in the evening.
Riding past the facility, he said he saw police cars and crime tape.
As Toomer went past the double door, he said he watched an officer open the door.
“I could see the young lady lying there,” he said.
Malcor described Williams as a young mother who suffered from a drug problem and lived on the streets.
She said Williams sold herself for money or drugs and moved from place to place.
Mullins denied ever being at the Good Shepherd House and said he didn’t know Williams when he was interviewed by police, Malcor said.
The trial is scheduled to continue today.
Mullins is serving a 20-year sentence at Smith State Prison in Glennville for stabbing another woman with a screwdriver. The woman he stabbed, Laury Smith, is a witness for prosecutors in the Williams’ case. Smith told police Mullins admitted to her that he stabbed Williams.
Mullins pleaded guilty Jan. 29, 2008, to stabbing Smith, a homeless woman, two days after Williams’ death.
Information from The Telegraph Archives was included in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.